Ah, London. I spent hours and hours, in fact days visiting every nook and cranny I could manage while I lived in England. The entire city is literally thronged with people from all over the world and I met a bunch of them. I mentioned on another page that I managed to get a tour of the bridge as well as dozens of other sites of historical importance. The city is clean, there are loads of activities, public transportation is excellent and you can move from point to point of interest with ease. Even a first timer can pull it off with a bit of research. I just loved those Double Decker buses, hop on and hop off at points all over the city. The first time I visited I grabbed a ticket and rode several of them around all day, just jumping on and off to get a feel for the place and finalize my travel attack plan.
The whole place has such a British feel to it as anyone that visits or has lived there can probably attest to. The buses, uniquely British cabs, the red phone booths and mail boxes, cobblestone, subways, ancient buildings … I could go on and on. I normally don’t spend a great deal of time in museums but I managed to find my way into two of them, the Natural History and Science Museums. I had no idea there were so many museums in the area. There must be dozens in London of every size and scope, military, science, maritime, writers, artists, wow. If you’re a history buff, you’ll not come away feeling slighted. The two museums I did manage to find my way in to were absolutely enormous and would take days and days to give them their full due. There must be tens of thousands of artifacts and exhibits, the places are well laid out, there are guides and signs to provide information and I actually enjoyed my time there.
You can tell by my photos that the city is alive with life, and it feels like a thriving international hub of commerce and tourism. It has it’s own Times Square called Piccadilly Circus (as an American I had to go see). Great place, loved it, lights, people, the huge signs and gawking tourists. I sat for a while and people watched just for fun.
Oh, what would a tour of London be without stopping by the government buildings. I visited the House of Lords and sneaked by what I believe was the building that houses MI5 (shhhh) as well as the Police department. Not wanting to draw attention to myself I moved on. You can actually go in and visit the House of Lords I’m told but I didn’t allocate the time. They still wear wigs I see, which is a tribute or throwback to political life from centuries ago. I’m no historian but it’s sort of interesting. I watched some of the parliamentary debates on TV while I was there and the way they structure arguments and their ability to convey a message is impressive.
Did you know London has it’s own China Town? You absolutely must go, it’s a fascinating place. A bit commercialized due to the flood of tourists but at least it offers some semblance of the culture. I walked through the gates that identify the area and proceeded to look around. The signs are in Mandarin (or Cantonese, not sure) and talk about mobbed with people. Wow. I managed to make my way to the side streets to visit some of the off the beaten track vendors (if you can use that phrase). I did end up purchasing some trinkets as I recall, just couldn’t pass it up, I mean how many times will I be in China Town in London. I actually felt like I was in China (even though I’ve never been to China and don’t know what It feels like). I even managed to set aside some time to eat some fabulous deserts, like I had never seen before while there. Some sort of cheese cake and fruit with a cream topping. It was excellent but I have a suspicion it wasn’t authentic Chinese.
Well, on to other areas. I did spend several hours walking up and down the Thames (I think it’s pronounced Tehmz) taking pictures and stopping the random tourist to see where they were from. You can spot the tourists from a mile away, they’re looking about frantically in an attempt to see everything, carrying brochures and cameras.
I’m occasionally guilty of this myself and have learned to act like I belong wherever I am even if I don’t. While I walked the river I passed by that giant ferris wheel that takes like an hour or so to make a revolution. This is a great way to see London from above but I can’t see myself sitting for that long so I watched the others for a bit and moved on. It’s big though, something like 400 feet and the proper name is the London Eye. It looks fascinating and if I ever have the time I may go. Well, on to bigger and better things.
The Wizard of Where